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© C. Hanazushi Rhodes

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra launches ground-breaking ‘Change Makers’ project and creates training place for disabled conductor

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra has been awarded funding from Arts Council England’s Change Makers fund, which aims to address the under-representation of black, minority ethnic and disabled people in the arts.

Thanks to a bursary awarded by Arts Council England and a significant donation from two private donors, the BSO will host a training placement for James Rose, a conductor with disabilities, to accelerate his development, experience and confidence as an artist.

Over the course of eighteen months of mentorship with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, beginning June 2017, James will have the opportunity to create, curate and direct a disabled-led ensemble. The ensemble, conducted by James will deliver a series of inspiring performances and workshops to young people and adults with and without disabilities across the region.

James was selected by the BSO for his outstanding ambition and commitment to the art of conducting and music direction. He has a unique conducting style, using a head-baton, which challenges commonly held perceptions about the nature of a conductor’s role.

James Rose, BSO’s ‘Change Maker’, said: “The prospect of developing a new ensemble for the BSO comprising of players with and without disabilities is an exciting one. This will not only provide a platform for new talented musicians, but it will also be used as a vehicle to inspire those who have disabilities to engage with classical music – whether it be playing or listening.

Lisa Tregale, BSO Head of Participation, said: “The BSO is delighted to be working with James to support his artistic ambitions in a project that we hope will also inspire gifted musicians with and without disabilities to have the self-belief that they too could become professional musicians with ambition, dedication and practice.

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: “We’re committed to ensuring the diversity of England is better reflected at a leadership level across the arts and cultural sector, so we’re really pleased to be supporting Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra through our Change Makers programme to help us work towards this goal. The scheme aims to give individuals a unique and transformational opportunity to realise their leadership potential, giving them the confidence and the experience to take their next step into a senior leadership role, helping to shape the future of our sector.

The BSO’s Change Makers Project with James commences in June 2017. His artistic journey and those of his fellow ensemble musicians will be documented in a film which will be released in December 2018.

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